Friday, March 30, 2012

40 bags in 40 days

Here we are at Week 6! Can you believe it? For those of you following along or giving up "clutter"for Lent with us. Here is my Week 6 update. This week I tackled my kitchen. Which was a much smaller project then previous weeks. But...the clutter was there! I cleared out my cupboards and silverware drawer. I got 2 walmart bags full of baby food out and freecycled them! And also threw away a half a bag of trash. Then I tossed another half garbage bag full of trash from the fridge!

Bye Bye Baby food!!

Organized and clean


Then I moved on to my 3 killer junk spots in my kitchen. And cleared them out! My two buffets and the top of my microwave also attract junk. All kinds of papers, mail, garbage, toys, on and on...







2 full garbage bags full of trash from those 3 places! Thank Heavens!! Now...I really need a better organizing system, or else those spots are just going to get cluttered again. lesast for now they are clear!

Total for this week 5 bags!!

2 bags donated/freecycled
3 bags of trash

Total project so far:

46 bags!

One week to go my friends. :) This upcoming week I'll be working on TOYS TOYS and MORE TOYS.

I still have half my basement to do. That will never get done this week though. So, I have to allow myself the thought of being happy and proud of the 46 bags (so far) gone and not concentrate on the other bags that remain. Hopefully after Easter I can still keep working on it. Maybe it will take 60 days and not 40. LOL Work, School, and of course kids keep me busy enough.

Head over to and check out the other accomplishments that people are working on! It's so great to see each week progress with everyone.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Try it Tuesday: Kool Aid Colored Eggs!

So it's Tuesday again! And since Easter is right around the corner I thought I would "Try" the Kool aid Colored eggs that I have found on Pintrest! there are quite a few different pins about coloring your eggs with Kool-Aid. So I just picked one to get the general idea and Brother Baer and I experimented.

So...We started with 5 colors. Red (Cherry), Purple (Grape), Blue (Blue Raspberry), Yellow (Lemonade) and Orange (Orange)

We mixed one packet of Kool-aid with a half a cup of water and stirred them up! then set the eggs in to see what happened.

The yellow....Didn't work at all. Nothing. No color to it at all. The rest seemed to color pretty good. The purple is a bit more "brown" looking to me. Very very dark purple I suppose.

Brother Baer loved the Blue ones. And I really love the red ones! It was fun and really easy. They also smelled really good while coloring.

Putting them together with the other eggs we colored with food coloring and vinegar....They all look good and colorful! No real difference.

Some of our eggs have some crazy markings... But the little ones helped and they are adorable. You can see the purple eggs and how dark they look...not really a bright and cheerful egg.

So....That's it for Try it Tuesday! They worked and it was fun! I'm sure we could do some fun mixing of colors too and make up some awesome colors!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

One more Weapon in my Arsenal!

My Newest weapon in my Super mom arsenal! I have to share!! The question "What's for dinner" plagues me. Everyday. I sometimes lie in bed at night trying to get "organized" for the next day and figure out what's for dinner.

I have tried menu plans, lists, lists, and more lists. I have searched and downloaded hundreds of recipes and I STILL find myself not knowing what to cook for dinner.

Then there is the whole....The recipe looks good, but the 100 ingredients it takes to make the meal, or the fact that my kids won't eat the meal....Leads me to never actually trying the new recipes that look so awesome. girlfriend told me about this website! (Thanks Stacey!) and I searched it out and I am in love! is their site! gives you choices of stores that you can shop at. And they develop the menu for the week (Kid friendly, mom friendly, easy to make recipes) and then provide you the store list...for YOUR store and gives you the breakdown on the cost even.

Seriously it could not get any easier. :) Yesterday I signed up! Printed my weekly list....marked off 2 meals that we don't need (Since I only need to make dinner for 5 days this week) and went to the store this morning. DONE! I spent a total of $48.00 for the week's meals. And that included Cat litter and paper towels. (That we obviously can't eat) and so I am so excited about this meal plan not only helping me solve the dinner dilemma but saving me money too. (Now I did have a lot of the basics in my pantry already...their estimated costs of weekly meals are between 65-80 a week for a family of 3-6)

They also included an Easter menu (With store list) for free right now! I downloaded that too and honestly will make some of the items and follow the list. (some things I have to make traditional)

So jump on over to and check them out! They have special dietary meal plans as well. Including Gluten Free, and Whole foods options. While you are there you can sign up for a FREE Lemon Cake recipe and try it out.

Friday, March 23, 2012

WOOHOO!!! It's Finally Friday! I've been working on the 40 bags in 40 days project with my blogger friend Ann Marie over at And every Friday we link up all our awesome progress for the week!

The idea really stems from Giving up "Stuff" for Lent. To Spring Clean and purge all the stuff that weighs us down. Giving us a chance to live a simplier, more free life! Clutter around here never seems to end. And this week was really no exception. I seemed to be taking 2 steps forward and 3 steps back this week.

It seemed that I brought more into the house then I purged. I did clean out my car! Cleared out all the winter junk that accumulated...hats, gloves, toys, on and on....So cleared out my car...but brought 3 bags of stuff INTO the house. *sigh* It's really not supposed to work that way. LOL But Everything that came in found a home, so that's a plus I suppose. and I did get one bag of trash!

Then I gave away Baby Baer's infant seat with 2 bases. YAY!!!! That counts as one. right? I surely don't need it anymore and it was taking up space. Then I gave away a bag of dresses of baby baer's to a friend...WOOT WOOT...that's 3!

Then came the migration. Winter clothes out and summer clothes in. Here is what I cleared out of Baby Baer's drawers and closet:

Nice Clean and empty drawers to fill up with cute summer stuff (I did save a few outfits out just in case Mother Nature decides to stop taking her meds.) Seriously...Summer clothes out and being used in March? In Pittsburgh? AMAZING!

and her other drawer:

Then I rid the boys drawers out. All together I got 4 bags of clothing from winter gone. I passed along the 3 bags from the boys to two of my friends for their kids. And got 1 bag back! LOL So...3 given away, 1 given back.

I still have Baby Baer's bag of clothing. Hoping to find a home for them with a friend. If not they will go to Thrift King. (My pile is bigger now! 7 bags ready to take to Thrift King)

I then gained a bag of Summer clothes for Baby Baer for next year...So again....3 bags gone, 2 bags in. *Round and Round* I do have to say I'm super thrilled that I have a circle of awesome moms and our kids can trade clothes every year. It saves us all tons of money so I can't complain about getting bags back in. And I suppose I'm losing stuff I can't use and gaining stuff I can. That helps right?

All in all this week I purged 4 bags through it all. (purged 6 and got 2 back) and then I got over 40 bags of stuff IN! Seriously....I collected 2 different donation drives this week that were on going to Mended Little Hearts of SWPA - A Non profit that I run from my house) One from a local hospital:

And another from Brother Baer's Cub Scout Troop. Here are the boys all proud of their donations they gathered! (The stuff is all hidden behind the cute boys. LOL)

So, I've been spending a lot of my week putting away the bags. So, I haven't had a lot of time to purge my stuff this week. Oh well. I'm doing well and that's all that matters.

I'm officially at 40 bags as of this week!!

27 bags donated

5 bags passed along to friends

3 bags sold

5 bags of trash

So, all in all I'm doing well even though I haven't got to a lot of the important spaces I wanted to. I really need to clear my kitchen cupboards and I'm going to try hard to make that my priority next week. I also have spaces in the basement that still need decluttered.

For now though I'm off to enjoy this sunshine!! Happy Spring all!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Angry Bird Cupcakes

Well here is my latest "Pintrest" try. Brother Baer's birthday is Sunday and I am taking cupcakes to school for his party! So....I searched Pintrest and found a really cool idea. The original post with lots of pictures can be found here:
So...Off to the store I went to collect my supplies. I followed directions "for the most part" As usual. My grocery store didn't have string licorice, so I improvised with twizzlers. I had a hard time with the marshmallows. But....Here is what I came up with.
I made funfetti cupcakes. The mix makes 24 cupcakes.
I made my own icing. Using the basic Wilton Buttercream icing recipe: 1 lb bag of powdered sugar, 1/2 cup of crisco, 1/2 cup of butter (1 stick softened), 2 tablespoons of milk, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Then I seperated it into 4 bowls and colored them the colors I wanted. Green, Blue, Red, and Yellow! I used the gel food coloring for the red and blue. And the liquid food coloring for the yellow and green. I didn't see a difference of the coloring. It's just what I had on hand. So either works well in my opinion. Then iced 6 of each color. then I sprinkled them with the same color sprinkles as the icing. Just for a little extra fancy. LOL It didn't change the way they looked.
I made the eyes from mini marshmallows (cut in half) and mini chocolate chips. The eye brows are made from twizzlers cut into size. As well as the "hair" on the yellow birds. The Beaks are made from gummy orange slices cut into thirds. the white breasts on the red and blue birds are large marshmallows cut into thirds. And the "hair" on the red bird and the ears on the Pigs are made from Mike N Ikes! To make the Pig noses I cut a large marshmallow in half and iced it with green and placed it on the top on the cupcakes. And the pig nostrils are also mini chocolates chips. The pigs teeth were also mini marshmallows cut into thirds and rolled up.
All in all they turned out really cute! Not superstar quality. BUT....Brother Baer loves them and hopefully his class does too. And really...That's all that counts I think! And they were easy and fun. And seriously. SEE....I am not just wasting time on Pintrest.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Try it Tuesday: Corndog Muffins

I've been trying out a lot of different things from Pintrest and thought I would share them here each week. you can find out what works....and what doesn't work...and some tips on making them a success. Have something you want me to try? Let me know and I'll do it! Have something you tried? Share it with me.
So this week I tried the Corndog Muffins. My kids love corndogs and I must admit...I do too. Especially from the fair all deep fried and fatty. This recipe is baked, so it's at least a tiny bit healthier. LOL Although I have to admit, not much. There are some things you can do to change it though to make it healthier...turkey dogs and omitting the cheese. But, here is what I did:
I started by following the recipe from this site I found on Pintrest:
I followed the directions...sort of. ;) The basic principal stayed the same I just changed things up a little.
First....cubed up 6 oz of cheddar cheese. I cut them small! (You could use shredded, but likely wouldn't get the chunks of cheesy taste)
Then I chunked up 6 hot dogs. To make them small enough for my little kiddos to not choke I sliced them long ways and then while holding the hot dog together I sliced them. circles left to choke on. then mixed those with the cheese chunks.
then I mixed up 2 packs of Jiffy Mix cornbread muffins mixes, following the directions on the box. then mixed everything together. The batter is thick enough that the hotdogs and cheese do not sink in the batter and they mixed up very nicely!
I used my ice cream scoop (also Pampered Chef. lol) to put the mix into my muffin pans. I sprayed them first with non stick spray. It made exactly 24 perfect sized muffins.
I baked them at 350 degrees for about 18 mins. Till they were golden brown. And that's it! Super easy and quick.
Seriously....Awesome! The kids loved them. they did taste like corndogs and they were a big hit. I could have halved the recipe though....We had over half left over, which is ok. We will eat them for lunches this week. They heat up nice! (Tried that today) and seemed to hold their taste and consistency in the microwave which is a bonus.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Birthday Cake the Supermom Way!

So Brother Baer decided for his party today he wanted a Transformer cake. I learned my leasson with the $50.00 dinosaur cake a few years back. I will never again pay for some fancy cake. So...I was on a mission to make an affordable, awesome, Transformer cake! I always want something to LOOK like I spent a lot of time and energy on it and not really have to spend a lot of time and energy...right? So after searching around for ideas and debating on fondant or not...Here is what I came up with...

I baked a chocolate and white cake...put them together in a box from Walmart ($2.50!) and iced one side red and one side blue. I purchased Transformer party masks from Walmart and used one on the center of the cake. Then added the 3 crash bot Transformers and added some grey piping around the edges! That's it! Super EASY super quick and didn't cost half of what a premade fancy cake would have.
It's totally not perfect. But...It's made with love and meant to be eaten...right? The boys love it and that's all that matters. :)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Home Office Makeover!

In an effort to create MORE livable space for us I have been working on making our basement fully functioning! I've been doing this along with my Lent project of giving up STUFF for Lent. My friend Ann Marie over at is doing the 40 bags in 40 days project and I've been playing along too.
I, of course have more stuff then the average Baer. SO....This 40 in 40 project has been a long process of not really organizing little spaces but more organizing BIG spaces and clearing out my massive amounts of clutter. I've reached 36 bags now (In less then 20 days) And I'm trying to focus on each specific area and not worry about the big picture. Because mostly, I'm overwhelmed.
I've done the laundry area and the bar area in the basement. My next project was my home office. I run a non profit from my home. And my paperwork and work space needs to be organized. And honestly, I'm awful at this part. So THIS project was big...big!!!
Now before I show you the "before" picture you must hear the new Gieco commercial with the teenage girls saying...
EEEWWW, Really? So Gross"
"Really Dude? EEEWWW? That's so gross"
Seriously. I had no desire to work down here, be down here, or even look down here. Just when you think you've seen the worst of my clutter I show you more. LOL I couldn't stand to sit down there and work. Or do anything really. So dark, dreary, and such messy. UGH
So...I worked yesterday and today on this space. Repurposed a TON of stuff from other areas in my house and here it is now:

Isn't it Pretty! I'm totally loving the space now!!
I bought two 3 shelf units from Target and then two of the 8 cube units. I laid them on their side and stacked the shelves on top. Creating a "wall" I then added some Cafe rods with Shower Curtains....Totally Target too! Shower curtains were way cheaper then actual curtains and I loved the color. I needed bright colors and something to liven up the space. That's all I needed to buy. Everything else was brought from other areas of my house.
I can really find myself hanging out down here!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Out, Out, and Away

Well my friends, Here is my weekly check in with my 40 bags in 40 days project that I'm doing with my amazing blogger friend Ann Marie over at (Yes I know...I'm marching to the beat of my own drum, it's not Friday yet.) I've been chugging along on my 40 in 40 project and honestly....I'm feeling AWESOME! Seriously, the weight is being lifted and my mind is getting clearer with each and every bag I rid.
Now, of course we already decided I was sadly advanced in the department of "clutter". I seem to have an extra ordinary amount of stuff. And so my massive purge isn't a typical purge within the 40 in 40 project. BUT...for me, it's really just the beginning. I keep looking at others pictures and thinking to myself....I am SO FAR from being that clearfree of clutter. I have such a long way to go to be able to have a space that is free of clutter. Even if it's a small space.
But...I'm a work in progess. :) And happily I'm getting there. One box at a time. I try not to look at everyone elses spaces and concentrate on mine. LOL
Here is my awesome completion for the week.
and after:

YAY!!!! Another portion of my basement is cleared!!! I'm so excited. It's so refreshing to walk down into the basement and not immediately see JUNK.
And since my laundry room was last weeks big project....
I now have HALF of a basement that I can feel good about. I have also added some more shelves and storage solutions in my laundry area:
And I love using my folding table for my laundry.
Along with THAT project, I also cleared out another bag of trash and another box of donations from my kitchen. On Sunday I delivered ANOTHER 10 bags/boxes to Thrift King:

Plus I have another pile started for this Sunday's delivery! (And I'm pretty sure the garbage men are going to hate me soon. LOL)

SO...Total Project is looking like this:

22 bags donated

3 bags sold

6 bags of trash

Totaling 31 bags so far!!

I gotta say. The selling part....I give up. I have realized I just can't keep the stuff around and hold onto it waiting for it to sell. only to make a small dollar on it anyways. So...that part of my plan has been stratched. And I'm all about ridding out....getting it gone....ASAP.

So...That's what is happening here! 31 bags down...and lord know how many more to go. LOL (Certainly more then 9. That I know for sure!)

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Now What? 10 things you should know about being a special needs mom

Working through receiving a diagnosis for your child, regardless of if the diagnosis comes in-utero, at birth, or later in your journey of parenthood, it's a tough pill to swallow. It's been 4 years since Brother Baer's first diagnosis (Which has changed about 10 times) and 3 years since Little Baer's. So many people had advice, but most of the advice in the beginning made me feel worse. So, I'm sharing this for all you new moms out there. Here is some real life, special needs mom advice to get you through your diagnosis. Regardless of what diagnosis that is.
1. Be sad. It's ok. Be upset, and cry and let it out. Mourn for that "life" you thought you were going to have. And don't let anyone tell you that you shouldn't be sad. It's your right. And that's ok. You will need strength in the future. For sad
2. Don't play the guilt game. Don't go there. It's not your fault. You didn't do something to deserve this, mostly because (as you will see) it's not a punishment. Something funny about me and all my "special need mom" friends...we are all just plain old moms. But we are all good moms, good people, and none of us did anything to be punished for. And again, I'll say it's not a punishment.
3. Don't play the "What if" game. What if's will hurt you. Seriously....What if the Zombies really do invade this year? What if the world ends? What if's will be your downfall. Just take things day by day and don't worry about the what if's. We all have them. Every single person. Regardless of special needs or not...NONE of us have a gaurantee for tomorrow. So.....Just live your today.
4. Talk about it. Talk about it and find support. Searching out and finding a support group always seemed strange to me. Support groups are for people with problems....right? And I didn't have a problem. Or at least I didn't want to think so. But honestly, support groups are important. Finding others that have something in common with you and your journey can help. It's never to early either! You may feel a little weird going into a group you don't know, with strangers...but I promise you us special need moms are totally cool! :) And we love new moms!!
5. Realize VERY early that it's not as bad as you think. I can remember crying buckets of tears thinking my life was over. That I would NEVER be able to do it. And I wasn't strong enough to handle it. But no one ever told me about the amazing things. The beautiful things. the things that come along with special needs....the small things. The flowers they sniff 100 times because they love them. The fact that Little Baer's smile can light up New York City. No one ever told me the GOOD things I would have. That's another reason why support groups are important. THEY will tell you the great things. They will show you the great things (Their kids) and you will feel happier.
6. Grieve. It's ok. Go ahead and grieve. Grieve for that "Italy" life you were going to have. And don't let people tell you it could be worse. Blech....I hate that. Of course it could be worse. But that doesn't help you. Let yourself grieve. And let your partner grieve too. Another key here is to remember that men process the steps different then women. So, if you're further along in the grief process, that's ok. Give him the time!
7. Don't take on too much information at once. I seriously was planning Little Baer's education when he was about 2 months old. LOL Seriously....Just love them and learn as you go. The time will come for each important decision. But don't try to make them all at once. You will make yourself crazy. You don't need to plan for when they are 10 yet! (unless they are 10...then get busy!)
8. There's nothing you can't handle. In the future. I promise you that you will find the strength to get through things you never imagined you could. You will do it and you will find the strength, mostly because you have no choice. But, you will do it. And will be a better person for it. You will sleep in hospital waiting rooms, and you will hold your child with 20 wires coming from them if that's what you have to do. You will. And somewhere in the darkness of those days you will find happiness. Even in the worst times there will be good times. Smiles, goals, peace. It will come.
9. Don't be bitter!!! This is important. Don't be bitter over people who don't have medical issues with their children, or don't feel bitter about your friends kids who are talking and walking before yours. Just relax and love YOUR life. Don't compare it and don't be bitter. Some of the meanest people I have met are moms who are bitter over their lives. And it's a sad thing to see. Don't let that happen.
10. Enjoy your life! And enjoy your child! Regardless of what the diagnosis you receive I will promise you that your child will bring you so much joy and love that it will all be worth it. Enjoy the days and nights with your child. Love your baby, love your child, and I promise that someday soon you will sit back and wonder....why you were so sad. Life isn't that bad.
And finally I just had to say I had to share the picture of little Baer...just because I think he's totally adorable. ;)

Three years in Holland

Three Years in Holland.....Life is Good
Three years ago today, if you had ask me where my life was going I would have said Italy. Pregnant with my 3rd child. Papa Baer and I were excited and ready for our new trip. I was working full time, taking care of brother baer and basically just living life. No where important to go. Nothing really special to do. Just daily routine life with children, a home, jobs, and bills. I never gave a second thought to anything but the ordinary. And then came the landing....
St. Patricks Day 2009.
Trenton was born on St Patricks Day morning. Amazing and perfect. I heard the delivery room nurse talking to the doctor.... Physical markers for Trisomy 21. What?...I'm waiting. The doctor tells me they "believe" he has Down Syndrome. Well, I think to myself. You must be wrong. He's perfect. I'm searching his face. Looking at him. Trying to figure out if I see it. Do I? I don't know. Are they just being cautious? Why are they saying these things. I don't see it.
Looking back, I'm not sure what I was thinking I was going to see. Other then an amazing little baby. But whatever it was I didn't see it. I spent the next few hours loving him and holding him and looking at him. So beautiful, so innocent. So amazing. How could this Down Syndrome thing be true? He didn't look defective...or strange. And certainly not like a child with Down Syndrome. Psst...They are probably wrong.
Then came the Dr to tell me they were taking him for a "quick look" at his heart. Children with Down syndrome have a 50% chance of a heart defect. So, they wanted to "rule it out" Well...I think, if you must, but first off he doesn't have Down Syndrome, and so it's just plain old silly, but go ahead.
1 hour passes...then 2....then 3...We are starting to get worried. Why aren't they bringing back my baby? Then 4 hours...After asking numerous nurses, Papa Baer goes to investigate. Then 5 hours...They won't let him see him, or tell him anything. NOW I'm getting mad.
Then comes the final blow...
The Cardiologist from Children's comes in. He starts talking and my head starts spinning...I remember my sister taking Brother Baer out. That's about all I remember. Other then real pain. Pain in my heart. Pain in my head. I can't wrap my head around what he is saying. I can't remember the defect. I can't pronounce the defect. Oh lord, I think....this can't be happening. He asks if I have any questions? Oh God I think, I didn't even understand what you told me, how can I ask questions. Open Heart Surgery? Is there another way? (Knowing the answer) No, there's not. No way except STRAIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE OF HELL I'm thinking.
And then he left. And here we were. With a tiny, perfect little baby in our eyes. With a world of problems in other peoples eyes.
So, I cried. I cried and cried till I couldn't cry anymore. I was sorry, I was scared and I was full of guilt. What had I done wrong? What did I do to deserve this? And how on earth was I ever going to get through it?
Looking at that tiny little perfect prince in my arms. All I could think of was whatever it takes, whatever we have to do, we will do it. Whatever he needs we will do. Just please God don't take him away from me.
And so Papa Baer and I found ourselves right smack dab in the middle of Holland. Without a map, without knowing the language. Without the smallest clue of what this strange land had in store for us.
Settling in....
As time went on we started to settle in in Holland. It was an ok place. not too different I'm thinking. A little extra Dr appts and some new friends to meet. But...we can manage. Are people staring at me I think on occasion? Do I fit in here? With these "other" people? All my friends are back in Italy.
Then people started showing us around. :) Like spectacular tour guides they came from all around. Who knew Holland had so many people? Hmm....I had no idea. And they are all so nice...and happy? How are they so happy? What's their secret? Are they in denial? Are they lying to me? Why the happiness? But each time I saw their faces I would immediately feel at ease. Each time they spoke of happiness I felt better.
Living here in Holland the past 3 years hasn't been easy. But, from the talks of my friends in Italy, it's not always a Rose Garden there either. I guess you never know what to expect from this journey, regardless of where you live. Somedays are great. Some days aren't. But in reality Holland isn't that much different. We have an awesome place here. I wish more people would visit us. See the sights. Enjoy their time. Life may be slower here, but it's filled with unconditional love.
I'm sometimes jealous of my Italian friends. But I'm happy. Believe it or not life is good. I wouldn't change my journey or my landing in this strange place. I was thinking last night how far we had come. How far we had to go. How everyday is a reminder that life isn't about the destination but about the journey.
Little Baer is the sunshine of my life. His smile is infectious. He can light up a room with that amazing smile and laugh like no one I have ever seen. His hugs are the greatest. He finds beauty in things that others would skip over and ignore. This land called Holland has made me a better mother. Has made my children better individuals and better siblings. Has made Papa Baer a better father. Little Baer changed the course of our lives in astounding ways. Nothing can ever change the fact that we came to Holland on this unexpected trip. But nothing would ever make me want to go back.